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When Celebrity Jocks Run 'The Longest Yard'

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When it came time to make the definitive children's sports movie of the 1970s, Paramount Pictures laid down sod, replaced a backstop, brought in a marquee scoreboard and built a grandstand at the community park in Chatsworth. It was there that Walter Matthau and Tatum O'Neal led a team of misfits, if not to victory, at least to a little self-respect.

After the film, the scoreboard and infield sod disappeared faster than Matthau and O'Neal could decline to appear in "Bad News" sequels. But the field remained, and many of the Bears returned a few years ago for the 25th reunion, to celebrate a world where hyperactive parents still scream if their little tykes are benchwarmers or the coach bats them last.

A new version of the film, starring Billy Bob Thornton, hits theaters later this year. The Bears will be playing at a new, improved park in Los Angeles, where the parents are bound to complain even louder.

3. Philadelphia (and Los Angeles): Rocky
An 8½-foot-tall statue of Rocky no longer towers over the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but that doesn't stop fans from bounding up the building's 72 steps with fists raised, just like Sylvester Stallone's fictitious boxer.

Stallone commissioned the bronze version of his alter ego for "Rocky III" and wanted it added to the museum's permanent collection, but museum officials argued that it was a movie prop, not art, and it was eventually relocated to Philadelphia's Wachovia Spectrum.

For full pugilistic pleasure, rabid "Rocky" fans can head to California, to the Oscar De la Hoya Youth Center — an East L.A. gym passed off in the film as gritty Philadelphia — where Rocky first fights, under a dramatic religious mural. Today young boxers there still learn the sweet science of fisticuffs — and it's still open to the public, if you dare step into the ring.

In downtown Los Angeles, you'll find Shamrock Meats, where the Italian Stallion famously trained by pounding the hanging sides of beef.

Then, when you're ready to go toe-to-toe with Apollo Creed, Olympic Auditorium, where the movie's climactic scenes were filmed, is a short drive away. Getting ring time there, however, is a little trickier.

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